This is my first post. I need to know if I can ask some homework problems on here? Not full problems but after I provide my attempt at the problem.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ a) this should have been a meta post. b) Yes, you may ask such problems but it is of utmost importance that you show an effort to solve it yourself first. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 6:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Mikael Thanks for the info. And do I expect my question to be fully solved after I show my attempt at it? $\endgroup$
    – Zlatan
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 6:37
  • $\begingroup$ Depends on how much of an effort you do, and how interested people are. Remember, we're here because we want to, not because we need to. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 6:44
  • $\begingroup$ Right right. I'll keep that in mind. And thanks. $\endgroup$
    – Zlatan
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 6:46
  • $\begingroup$ We do not give full solutions. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 9:42
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    $\begingroup$ @MikaelFremling Effort is never enough to make a homework-like question on-topic for Physics. It never has been enough. Please read meta.physics.stackexchange.com/questions/714/… for the policy currently in force, and be aware that there are discussions underway to change that. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 16:39
  • $\begingroup$ @dmckee I see you point. I was merely puching the OP in the direction that he/she should just not post a question without any attempt to solve it him/herself. Thank you for the link. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 16:43
  • $\begingroup$ @MikaelFremling I appreciate that, but if you tell another user that showing effort is enough and their next question gets closed they often get angry which is something we'd like to avoid. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 16:59

2 Answers 2


The ideal question on this site will ask about some concept in physics. The aim is that after reading the question and its answer people will end up knowing more about physics than when they started.

The reason we don't like homework questions is that in general they are just about solving some specific question so all anyone reading the answer learns is how to solve one question. Unless answering the question illustrates some general principle the answer won't be of much use to anyone but the person asking the question.

The point of all this is that if you're asking a homework question that doesn't help explain some wider concept we won't care whether or not you show how much effort you've put into it - we will close the question anyway. This isn't because we're mean and/or sadistic, it's because by posting questions like this you make the site a worse place for everyone else.

So if you're going to post a homework question make sure you write it to highlight the concept in physics that you don't understand.

  • $\begingroup$ Great piece of info thanks $\endgroup$
    – Zlatan
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 7:32
  • $\begingroup$ could you please tell me how I can attach pictures to my questions? $\endgroup$
    – Zlatan
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 7:33
  • $\begingroup$ John, shouldn't this be migrated to meta before answering? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 7:42
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty: Yeh; we know it would be migrated and that's why John answered it ;P $\endgroup$
    – user36790
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 7:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Zlatan: There is a in-build facility for this; look at the toolbox above when you are posting; there is an image option, there. $\endgroup$
    – user36790
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 7:45

I disagree with John Rennie's opinion.

I think it is very difficult to learn about physics without discussing and working on specific problems. That is how I learnt physics. And judging by the volume of very specific situation-type problems at the end of every chapter of almost every physics textbook, the experts in physics education agree with me.

Keeping everything general and abstract is frustrating for the student, and frustrating for the person trying to answer the student's questions.

My opinion is that there is no difference between a homework problem and any other problem. The real issue is : What attempt have you made to solve it? What we are trying to discourage is lazy students who just want an answer without having to think. So the site policy is to provide hints to help you to answer the question for yourself as much as possible. That way you get the most benefit from the 'exercise'.


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